Rakshasa: Hidden in Plain Sight

Real quick: fuck you Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast. Their changes to D&D’s OGL (open game license) is a blatant insult to the community that threatens the stability of the game. If you want to know more, check out this video by YongYea.
Anyways, let’s talk about monsters now.

Slay me once, shame on you. Slay me twice, shame on me.

Rakshasa Maxim

That sounds awfully chill for such a vengeful bastard of a monster.

Lore: Eternal Vengeance

Delicacy and misdirection are the primary weapons of conquest utilized by the rakshasa. These evil spirits masquerade as nobility or rich merchants in order to place themselves in a position of power. Few have ever seen their true forms. Even fewer have lived to tell the tale.

Long ago, powerful devils within the Nine Hells created a dark ritual to free their spirits from their physical forms, thus creating the rakshasas. Once they slip into the Material Plane, they’ll move with the most extreme caution in order to keep itself secret.

To die in the Material Plane is to send a rakshasa back down to the Nine Hells. Once there, it must endure a long wait for its body to reform. All the while, it stews in its memories, planning vengeance against whoever wronged it. Should their original target escape or die, they’ll target their family, friends, or even their descendants. To make an enemy of a rakshasa is to make an enemy for life. Only by killing it within the Nine Hells itself can one be forever rid of it.

For such little lore, this has a surprising amount of depth and potential! Perhaps the players are haunted by a vengeful rakshasa across the campaign and they need to find a way to get rid of it. Maybe it’s an NPC with this problem and they need to protect them. Or you could craft a murder mystery about a haunted family, wherein the players dive deeper and deeper into the family history to uncover the truth. There are a ton of fun options here!

Design: Wait, why is it a furry?

What an incredible design. Whenever I think of ‘evil spirit from hell’, I naturally think of a lion in noble clothing. It just makes sense!

Damn, dude’s got drip, I’ll give ‘im that.

With the basic premise of ‘shapeshifting immortal vengeful spirit from hell’, you’d think you’d come up with some really cool stuff. Maybe some kind of flaming shadow hidden beneath a normal creature’s form. Or some kind of twisted devil. Or a wise old man with dark, blazing eyes. The sky is the limit!

What did we get? A lion. It’s just a well-dressed furry!

Is that a bad thing? Not really. Honestly, I really like the idea of an anthropomorphic nobleman. I ain’t a furry, that just screams ‘fun fantasy’ to me.

But does it scream ‘immortal spirit of evil and vengeance from the Nine Hells?’ Not in the slightest. Good as this design is, it doesn’t fit the monster at all. It honestly feels like someone on the team accidentally swapped the designs.

Stats: Claws and Curses

A rakshasa is a fairly durable monster. Their AC isn’t monstrous, but it ain’t nothing to sneeze at, and their HP is pretty high. Moreover, they’re completely immune to all non-magical melee damage. Sorry Barbarians, but these guys are ready for you. It’s also got Limited Magic Immunity, making it harder to detect with magic and giving it advantage on all magic-related saving throws.

However, they do have one hyper-specific weakness. If they take piercing damage from magic weapons wielded by good creatures, it does double damage. That’s right! We’ve finally found a monster where the player’s alignment actually plays a part in the fight!

Sure, it’s in the most ultra-specific way possible, but it is there!

This guy also has magic! It ain’t the longest spell list ever, but it is indeed a spell list. Those spells are:

  • At will: detect thoughts, disguise self, mage hand, minor illusion
  • 3/day each: charm person, detect magic, invisibility, major image, suggestion
  • 1/day each: dominate person, fly, plane shift, true seeing

Finally, we have its primary form of attack: it’s claws. On their own, they’re not that dangerous. However, should the victim be hit, they’ll be placed under a curse. Every time they take a short or long rest, they’re haunted by horrible dreams and gain no benefits from the rest. This lasts until a spell similar to remove curse is used.

Does that do anything for the fight itself? No. But having lasting consequences after the fight is pretty good for campaign content!

This makes for a great fight! Dealing with its various spells is tricky, and the alignment thing can make for a fun twist. More importantly, the curse effect adds a layer of consequence to the fight that the party needs to deal with afterwards, which only further encourages creative problem solving.


All in all, this is a strong monster. It’s design doesn’t work for me, sure. But it’s excellent lore and stats more than make up for that!

With all that in mind, the Rakshasa is going to #69 (heh heh) on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Mind Flayer
  4. Dragon Turtle
  5. Mummy/Mummy Lord
  6. Nagas (all three of ’em)
  7. Green Dragons
  8. Red Dragons
  9. Blue Dragons
  10. Black Dragons
  11. White Dragons
  12. Silver Dragons
  13. Couatl
  14. Behir
  15. Aboleth
  16. Sea Hag
  17. Lamia
  18. Bronze Dragons
  19. Brass Dragons
  20. Copper Dragons
  21. Gold Dragons
  22. Chuul
  23. Kuo-Toa
  24. Gibbering Mouther
  25. Kraken
  26. Intellect Devourer
  27. Chimera
  28. Death Knight
  29. Fomorian
  30. Bone Devil
  31. Dracolich
  32. Faerie Dragon
  33. Gelatinous Cube
  34. Lich
  35. Peryton
  36. Orcs (all four of ’em)
  37. Magmin
  38. Kobold
  39. Kenku
  40. Hobgoblins
  41. Night Hag
  42. Green Hag
  43. Black Pudding
  44. Ankheg
  45. Hook Horror
  46. Oni
  47. Purple Worm
  48. Storm Giant
  49. Hill Giant
  50. Empyrean
  51. Efreeti
  52. Grimlock
  53. Minotaur
  54. Dao
  55. Cloud Giant
  56. Manticore
  57. Drow (all four of ’em)
  58. Shadow Demon
  59. Modrons (all five of ’em)
  60. Marilith
  61. Drider
  62. Aarackockra
  63. Azer
  64. Demilich
  65. Spectator
  66. Gray Ooze
  67. Ochre Jelly
  68. Hydra
  69. Rakshasa <—————-
  70. Marid
  71. Harpy
  72. Werejackal
  73. Otyugh
  74. Half-Dragon
  75. Cambion
  76. Fire Giant
  77. Nothic
  78. Pixie
  79. Animated Armor
  80. Banshee
  81. Basilisk
  82. Yochlol
  83. Bulette
  84. Cloaker
  85. Darkmantle
  86. Doppelganger
  87. Ghoul and Ghast
  88. Ettin
  89. Medusa
  90. Pit Fiend
  91. Erinyes
  92. Chain Devil
  93. Bearded Devil
  94. Barbed Devil
  95. Spined Devil
  96. Ice Devil
  97. Mimic
  98. Djinni
  99. Merrow
  100. Nalfeshnee
  101. Glabrezu
  102. Chasme
  103. Grell
  104. Barlgura
  105. Horned Devil
  106. Balor
  107. Shadow Dragon
  108. Myconids (all four of ’em)
  109. Piercer
  110. Werebear
  111. Lizardfolk
  112. Vrock
  113. Dretch
  114. Pseudodragon
  115. Gnolls (all three)
  116. Goristro
  117. Hezrou
  118. Manes
  119. Quaggoth
  120. Frost Giant
  121. Weretiger
  122. Werewolf
  123. Duergar
  124. Quasit
  125. Dryad
  126. Flumph
  127. Goblin
  128. Nightmare
  129. Wereboar
  130. Wererat
  131. Githyanki
  132. Owlbear
  133. Planetar
  134. Imp
  135. Ogres/Half-ogres
  136. Clay Golem
  137. Flameskull
  138. Displacer Beast
  139. Carrion Crawler
  140. Githzerai
  141. Grick
  142. Invisible Stalker
  143. Rug of Smothering
  144. Bugbear Chief
  145. Bugbear
  146. Flesh Golem
  147. Vine Blight
  148. Twig Blight
  149. Needle Blight
  150. Mephits (all six of ’em)
  151. Bullywug
  152. Hellhound
  153. Ettercap
  154. Gas Spore
  155. Cockatrice
  156. Lemure
  157. Homonculus
  158. Merfolk
  159. Solar
  160. Deva
  161. Gorgon
  162. Hippogriff
  163. Griffon
  164. Cyclops
  165. Centaur
  166. Ghost
  167. Pegasus
  168. Fire Elemental
  169. Water Elemental
  170. Air Elemental
  171. Stone Giant
  172. Deep Gnome
  173. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  174. Iron Golem
  175. Stone Golem
  176. Earth Elemental
  177. Galeb Duhr
  178. Helmed Horror
  179. Flying Sword
  180. Crawling Claw
  181. Violet Fungus
  182. Shrieker
  183. Gargoyle

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